When Ye Shall Rend that Veil of Unbelief

Happy Birthday, Elder Aleman!

Happy Birthday, Elder Aleman!

The presents were very welcome. He got some lotion, his favorite, and a picture frame. We had a party at the Pacahuala's house.

The presents were very welcome. He got some lotion, his favorite, and a picture frame. We had a party at the Pacahuala’s house.

 

Ether 4:15, 18-19

14 Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

18 Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name.

 19 And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.

Well, it has been another week. Transfers are coming up — what a week. There should be some interesting changes, and I’m rather excited. I have no idea what awaits me, but I hope that I can truly “rend that Veil of Unbelief” and come even closer to my Savior. I only have three transfers left as a missionary and I have learned a ton.

The amount of dust we had been living in. All clean, now!

The amount of dust we had been living in. All clean, now!

This week has been very standard. We’ve taught some people, had some fun, and did some stuff as usual. It was pretty awesome to just do the normal stuff.

As you may or may not know, I am a rather huge fan of ice cream. While with Elder Guerrero, we found a place that sells frozen yogurt just like home!

As you may or may not know, I am a rather huge fan of ice cream. While with Elder Guerrero, we found a place that sells frozen yogurt just like home!

I had to buy two of them.

I had to buy two of them.

However, the ward really struggles with a love for gossip. We have tried to be loving and teach the members that people can repent and use the atonement of Christ to truly change who they are and have all of their past actions erased. We have tried telling them about Faith and how we can look forward with the eye of Faith and press forward toward salvation. We want them to support each other and build each other up, but it is hard to change. Yesterday was hard. One of the members asked us to give her a blessing after she heard some gossip that worried her. She and her husband are going through a hard time and she wanted to keep it private, but word got out. She was crying but the blessing we gave her was the most powerful blessing that I’ve ever given and I’m so grateful to have the priesthood. She was assured of her Savior’s love.

This is what I try to say to the ward, and it is a good reminder for me, too:

Everyone has feelings. Everyone deserves to be treated well. The golden rule is just fantastic: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or perhaps: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

It is like all of the book of Ether. If you work secretly and to bring people down, it will always be brought to light. It may not be now, or in the near future, but it will come and you will have to pay for what you have done, just as the Jaredites did with their complete and utter destruction. We must repent and become saints though the grace of Christ.

Everything that we do counts. Everything that happens matters. Decisions determine destiny and we must keep that in mind. What we do here determines what happens us after this life and the happiness that we will have there. So, rend that veil of unbelief! Come unto Christ and be ye perfected in Him! He loves us! He wants the best for us! Shake off the natural man! Become a saint! We are Sons and Daughters of a Heavenly King and we have a divine potential!

I love this work. I love the things that are happening in the world. The Lord is hurrying His work and we must either help Him or be left behind. This is the Testimony that is in me, and it grows each and every day. The mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I love you all and hope that you have a great week. I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Talent show! Just about ready to get started! (I took over 3 gigabytes of pictures and video to share with the ward members!)

Talent show! Just about ready to get started! (I took over 3 gigabytes of pictures and video to share with the ward members!)

Our friend Erik is ready for is big number, La Masquera!

Our friend Erik is ready for is big number, La Masquera!

Even the elderly were ready to participate!

Even the elderly were ready to participate!

We had musical duets.

We had musical duets.

I even showed off my drummin' skills. I still got it.

I even showed off my drummin’ skills. I still got it.

Singing and dancing -- they were a hit.

Singing and dancing — they were a hit.

A "selfie" to prove I was really there.

A pic to prove I was really there.

La Masquera was a pretty big surprise and a pretty big hoot!

La Masquera was a pretty big surprise and a pretty big hoot!

 

The Primary joined in. Two of the girls pretended they were sister missionaries. Their skit was about how their Pension made awful food, so the mission president showed up to give them some correction.

The Primary joined in. Two of the girls pretended they were sister missionaries. Their skit was about how their Pension made awful food, so the mission president showed up to give them some correction.

A "couple" did a musical number where the boy wanted the girl back, but she wasn't interested.

A “couple” did a musical number where the boy wanted the girl back, but she wasn’t interested.

The Relief Society showed off some curves by dancing traditional "waynos" which then led into a party song.

The Relief Society showed off some curves by dancing traditional “waynos” which then led into a party song.

Then we had a drumming group. They were probably the most interesting one to me. My ears hadn't heard that amount of noise in just over two years -- the last time I played with the BYU drumline.

Then we had a drumming group. They were probably the most interesting one to me. My ears hadn’t heard that amount of noise in just over two years — the last time I played with the BYU drumline.

Just PURE NOISE.

Just PURE NOISE.

 

My companion did a mini-man dancing number. It was pretty funny, but he forgot to cover his real legs...

My companion did a mini-man dancing number. It was pretty funny, but he forgot to cover his real legs…

Then to finish it off, a romantic duet. What a fun night.

Then to finish it off, a romantic duet. What a fun night.

Making Rompemuelles, but more like Rompecarros

Speed bumps here are called rompemuelles, but most of them should be called rompecarros (meaning, car breakers). In light of that, we decided to make one this week! But then we made two! One that is above the ground, and one that goes under the ground. The family on the street loves our handiwork — it keeps the street safe for the kids — but have told us that many people have gotten either stuck, or tried to fill it in, or have even yelled at them. They just laugh and feel much safer. The cars here just go too fast without caring about pedestrians, especially young ones.

Our service project this week was building a Peruvian speed bump!

Our service project this week was building a Peruvian speed bump!

The finished project. People have really been stopping here the last few days. Sure makes play time for little kids more fun and safer!

The finished project. People have really been stopping here the last few days. Sure makes play time for little kids more fun and safer!

So, this has been a really long and hard week. Most everything has fallen through, and I’ve been pretty disappointed. We’ve worked hard to find people, but nothing really happened. To make things worse, one of the members we’ve been working with a lot has started drinking again. The ward is discouraged, too, and we have to announce everything for them to come. It is really frustrating.

However, it has taught me to see some of the tender mercies of the Lord in my life. He gave us two awesome new investigators at the end of the week (the only new investigators). He has made sure that we are safe (crazy thunderstorms all week), and things progress even though it goes pretty slowly. Missionary work is not easy, even for a missionary that only has just over four months left. There were days this week when I didn’t even want to leave the room for how disappointed I was. However, I know that the Lord recognizes our efforts and blesses us according to His will and the agency of others. I love this work.

Anyway, I know that the Gospel is true. I have learned so much from this area and am glad for the experiences that I get. It truly is an adventure, and I’m off to go have another one! Have a great week everyone!

With many llamas,

David

THIS is a Jauja party.

THIS is a Jauja party.

No comment.

No comment.

 

O Then Despise Not, and Wonder Not

27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

Mormon 9:27-28

I’ve been reading a lot of the Book of Mormon lately. It has been quite the experience and I’ve really learned a lot about the book. I can feel my testimony grow. I often wonder why I didn’t really do this so studiously before.

The hand of the Artist at work.

The hand of the Artist at work.

Anyway, this week has been a very challenging week for me. It has also been a very productive week for me. We have had more lessons this week than any other week of my time in Jauja. The area is really starting to progress and things are going wonderfully. I know that the Lord is very interested in the area and the people here. I think that He was rather frustrated for a time with the little success that there was and how little work was being done. I mean — two wards and a branch get reduced to a non-functioning ward? Well, it just shows how this scripture should work: despise not and wonder not, for the Lord will do wonders here if we let him. He is a God of miracles, as shown in the last chapter of Mormon. He often just waits for a show of good faith on our part.

A gigantic spider made out of a tree trunk. It was pretty sweet. However, there is no way I could fit it in my suitcase so I didn't buy it.

A gigantic spider made out of a tree trunk. It was pretty sweet. However, there is no way I could fit it in my suitcase so I didn’t buy it.

I bought a Peruvian doll dressed up as a Jaujina in traditional dance clothes. Took the guy at the store 10 minutes to find one in dark blue.

I bought a Peruvian doll dressed up as a Jaujina in traditional dance clothes. Took the guy at the store 10 minutes to find one in dark blue.

I also bought a hand carved wooden penguin for my desk at home. It is fantastic.

I also bought a hand carved wooden penguin for my desk at home. It is fantastic.

And that is what is happening in Jauja. The young men and young women and the young adults are indexing like crazy. With only a handful of them and very few computers, they were able to complete their goal of over 5000 names indexed these last four weeks and they just want to get going. What they are more excited for, however, is that this coming month the records of Junin, the department that they live in, are going to be released to be indexed! They are so happy to help others but are even more excited to index their own ancestors and help the work move along here in their own area! I am so excited and happy for them. I am 100% certain that I will be helping them by doing some indexing when I get home, since they are open for all.

Taking a break in a gigantic pot.

Taking a break in a gigantic pot.

Sneezing in front of a very Catholic house. Those family sneeze-in-the-sun genes are very strong.

Sneezing in front of a very Catholic house. Those family sneeze-in-the-sun genes are very strong.

So, we’ve had a good week. Not too much else to report but the work keeps trudging along. I’m rather tired and not feeling so good, but I know that the Lord loves us. He is here for us and He knows us individually. I can testify of it.

Anyway, have a fantastic week! I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Maximo (our pensionisto) trying out the sorcery of cooking technology

Maximo (our pensionisto) trying out the sorcery of cooking technology

The master chef is hard at work making the Rocoto Relleno. He's the nephew of Maximo, our pensionisto.

The master chef is hard at work making the Rocoto Relleno. He’s the nephew of Maximo, our pensionisto.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

Look at that deliciousness.

Look at that deliciousness.

I ate ALL of it. Even the bitter part of the pepper. I think I have a new favorite plate.

I ate ALL of it. Even the bitter part of the pepper. I think I have a new favorite plate.

Ruins of a Once Majestic City

Elder Aleman and I survey the Incan ruins of Tunanmarca. We had such a good time we are taking the whole zone back there today.

Elder Aleman and I survey the Incan ruins of Tunanmarca. We had such a good time we are taking the whole zone back there today.

Well, we had some awesome adventures this week, starting with our awesome P-day. We went to the ruins of Tunanmarca up past Jajua, and man was it fun. We had to climb up a crazy mountain in a super old car (which made me kind of miss San Pedro de Cajas) to get to the ruins that rest upon a pretty tall mountain. It was really cool seeing the sights and learning about how these people lived. Unfortunately, the ruins haven’t been very well taken care of, and many of them are falling apart. However, the parts that were still standing up were just awesome! They are so great that Elder Aleman and I are taking the whole zone back there for P-day today. I’ll just let the pictures tell the story.

And we're off to the RUINS of Tunanmarca!

And we’re off to the RUINS of Tunanmarca!

What we had to drive up to get to the ruins. (Yes, all of the little farms are still our area.)

What we had to drive up to get to the ruins. (Yes, all of the little farms are still our area.)

Looks like I'm too tall to be an Inca.

Looks like I’m too tall to be an Inca.

Several other people came along. This is our Pensionisto and Abinadí.

Several other people came along. This is our Pensionisto and Abinadí.

An old wall with a few houses.

An old wall with a few houses.

The ruins are pretty awesome.

The ruins are pretty awesome.

A small pathway between varying properties.

A small pathway between varying properties.

There are some interesting rocks to be found.

There are some interesting rocks to be found.

The entire top of the mountain is the city of the ruins.

The entire top of the mountain is the city of the ruins.

This week has been both pretty tough, but very good as well. I am still in Jauja with Elder Aleman, and we have tried to hit the ground running. Everyone but Elder Layton stayed in my district, and we got four more missionaries. Almost all of our appointments have fallen through, but the ones that we have had have been fantastic. People are really seeking for the gospel and want to change their lives. And, as the scriptures say, we’re “laying the foundation for a greater work” in Jauja.

Our awesome activity in the chapel. Hardly anyone showed up.

Our awesome activity in the chapel. Hardly anyone showed up.

But then more people showed up, and we played a non-musical version of musical chairs.

But then more people showed up, and we played a non-musical version of musical chairs.

I have really learned to love the Atonement. I don’t think I’ll ever completely understand it, but I have learned how grace can really transform people and make them better. We have been teaching a less-active member who had fallen really hard into alcoholism. He lost his wife, his daughters, and many things were not going his way. He approached us on two different occasions (which I shamefully admit that we didn’t want to teach him nor talk to him). He could feel the pressure of the ward looking down on him due to his past actions and gossip. He was just having a hard time. However, after we taught him about the Atonement and Repentance, he decided that it was time to change. A few lessons down the line, and he is doing fantastic! I love the poor man and am so grateful that the Lord led us to him. The Lord will rescue him from the chains of hell and we will help him learn about his Redeemer. He is an amazing man.

In other news, the ward is really feeling the Spirit of Elijah. They are really working on the indexing goals that the stake has set, and many of them are completing them! I love this work and know that the Lord is accelerating it on many fronts.

Other than that, we are teaching the mother of an inactive clown (an actual clown who does birthday parties). However, the clown seems more of the nighmarish kind that never smiles, but I guess he can really put on a show when he is with the kids. He also doesn’t even want to listen to us because he “will never change.” Whatever. He’ll come around when he sees how happy his mother is!

Anyway, there’s a lot to do here. I’m glad to be here another transfer and hope that I can really help the work here progress. It will be an adventure! Well, I’m off to have an adventure!

With many llamas,

David

Instead of giving me my 8.50 change with a 5, a 2, a 1 and a 50 centimo, they gave me all in 50 centimos and 10 centimos.

Instead of giving me my 8.50 change with a 5, a 2, a 1 and a 50 centimo, they gave me all in 50 centimos and 10 centimos.

My companion stole a bicycle.

My companion stole a bicycle.

They Were Steadfast and Immovable and They Bore with Patience

Alma 1:25  Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.

This scripture is really helping me through Jauja. The Lord is really trying my patience, and I can tell that it is helping me. I never thought that I had problems with this kind of thing, but I guess the Lord knows me better than I do and wants me to be better than I think I am, if that makes sense. I guess that I just have to keep this scripture in mind, and this one from Alma 7:

Alma 7:23-24  And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.  And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.

However, things are going well. I’m enjoying myself, even though there isn’t a whole lot of measurable success. However, I know that the Lord is mindful of me and that He appreciates my ideas, even if others don’t understand them.

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Christmas Has Come and Gone and A New Year is Ready

At the cross-roads of destiny.

At the crossroads of destiny.

Our project during the week. Organize the entire ward directory by street. It was a very daunting task.

Our project during the week. Organize the entire ward directory by street. It was a very daunting task.

Well, another week. There isn’t really a whole lot to report, so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. I really enjoyed Christmas this year and it was super nice to reflect on the Savior.

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They Were of One Heart and One Mind

We put the snowman up on our window. I think it helps with the curb appeal.

We put the snowman up on our window. I think it helps with the curb appeal.

So, this week I thought I’d try something different. Instead of only just talking about some of the random things that happened this week, I’d talk about something that I’ve been thinking and studying about for the last week. I’d first like to thank Dad for reminding me of this idea as it really helps me as a missionary help others.

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A Jedi’s Strength Flows From the Force

Well, we’re missionaries, but it is a pretty interesting comparison. A Missionary’s strength flows from the Spirit, which is a remarkable comparison. Just like Luke Skywalker, who has to learn to control the Force, we as missionaries have to learn to listen to the Spirit and to draw what we teach from that power. If we don’t, the message of the Gospel will never reach the heart of the person, as it is promised in 2 Nephi 33. I have really learned to rely on that power in our lessons and as we teach our investigators because they are God’s children, and He knows them better than I ever will.

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I’m Never Letting Go

Well, this week has been one of the fastest weeks of my mission. You wanna know why? I went to Lima for immigration papers and stuff! Yay! The Zone Leaders (since they share the same pension as us) told me on Tuesday that I would be headed to Lima on Thursday to renew my Peruvian ID card that lets me stay here longer than a tourist. So, after some hard work the two days that we were in Chilca, I headed off to Lima in the Cruz del Sur tourist company bus. It was a pretty sweet bus. The seats were huge and super comfortable. They also had these tablets running the oldest version of Android software that I remember that they programmed to only allow movies, music, books, and an internet browser. We were good missionaries, though, only used them for LDS.org and the mission blog. The ride took forever, and we arrived at Lima late in the night.

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